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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
Mr. Jimmy D. Blas
Second Secretary

at the

General Debate of the Second Committee of the General Assembly

New York, 2 October 2006

Madam Chair,

I would like to join those who have congratulated you and the other members of your bureau on your elections and assure my delegation’s full cooperation and active participation in the work of the Second Committee.

I also thank the Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs for his presentation, which enriches our deliberations.

My delegation associates itself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of South Africa, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and Indonesia, on behalf of ASEAN. I would like to highlight briefly a few points of importance to the Philippines.

First, with regard to External Debt Crisis and Development under agenda item 51 (c) , let me recall that last year, the General Assembly adopted by consensus resolution A/RES/60/187 entitled “External debt crisis and development.” The international community, inter alia, took note of the recent discussions and assessment by the Paris Club of the proposal for “Debt for Equity in Millennium Development Goal Projects.” This initiative in a formal UN document offers the international community with an alternative mechanism to solving the debt problem of developing countries, particularly of middle-income developing countries.

My delegation would like to reiterate its proposal - The “Debt-for Equity in MDG Projects” – aimed at providing a fiscal breathing space from the huge debt-service burdens being experienced by my country as well as other similarly situated low and medium income developing countries. Our initiative will complement the agreement by the G-8 countries to write off multilateral debt owed by the Highly Indebted Poor Countries.

We are not asking for debt forgiveness, neither are pleading for debt cancellation, debt moratorium nor debt discounts. It does not call for new budgetary outlays from parliaments of the rich countries; neither does it envision any reduction or loss of face value in the creditors’ financial asset. On the other hand, it invites the participation of creditors on a voluntary basis to help indebted countries achieve their MDG targets. Moreover, the creditors would have the option of choosing what MDG projects to support in a particular debtor country.

Creditor developed countries, multilateral institutions, and large commercial banks are invited to plow back into the economies of the debtor-countries 50 percent of previously agreed portion of the debt-service payments due them, in the form of equities, and channeled to MDG projects such as mass-housing, safe water system, hospitals, micro-financing, infrastructure or reforestation.

I call on Member States both rich and poor to support our initiative - the Debt-for-Equity in MDG Project - as a modality of financing for development of low and medium income developing countries faced with unsustainable debt burden constricting their capacity to achieve the MDGs in the remaining nine years. Without financial resources, MDGs will remain a dream for many. The accomplishment of the MDGs is a universal commitment. Let us now demonstrate that commitment in practical terms.

Second, on International Migration and Development under agenda item 54 (b), the recently concluded High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development held in New York a few days ago has raised the level of awareness of the international community on this important development issue. High-level participants discussed the multidimensional aspects of international migration and development and identified appropriate ways and means to maximize the development benefits accruing from migration.

An important element in the discussions on international migration and development is the protection of migrant workers. The Philippines is committed to take proactive steps for international cooperation to protect the rights of migrant workers, whether documented or otherwise; to enforce and strengthen effective measures to prevent, combat and eliminate all forms of trafficking in persons, in particular, women and children; to build partnerships for the management of migration in a balanced and comprehensive manner that maximizes development benefits for both the receiving and sending countries; to reduce the costs of transferring migrants’ remittances; and minimize the negative impacts of migration such as brain drain.

The Philippines strongly supports the establishment of a Global Forum on Migration and Development as an avenue to foster cooperation, exchange of information, share best practices and assist governments in formulating coherent policies regarding international migration. The early establishment of the Global Forum will sustain the momentum on migration and development provided during the HLD.

Third, with regard to special economic assistance to individual countries or regions under agenda item 69 (b), allow me to draw your attention to an ecological disaster that befell the Philippines on 11 August 2006, when a tanker transporting 13,000 barrels or 2,067,000 liters of industrial fuel oil or bunker oil capsized in Southern Philippines spilling more than 200,000 liters of oil off the island province of Guimaras. This disaster of serious proportion has impacted on the population and ecology of the affected area as well as strained on the resources of my government in launching a massive cleanup operation. It will take more than six months to float the sunken tanker which still holds enormous amount of oil. The oil spill has destroyed hundreds of kilometers of the shoreline. It has imperiled the marine life in the area and is causing health hazards to the residents of the province.

In this regard, my delegation would like to express its appreciation to Australia, the UNDP, UNICEF and the International Maritime Organization for their invaluable assistance to my Government in coping with this environmental disaster.

My delegation will introduce a resolution to appeal to the international community to help our cleanup drive, as a fine example of mutual help in times of catastrophe. I will most certainly count on your support for our proposed resolution.

Thank you.

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